SAN ANTONIO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A Virginia Federal judge has just entered another judgment in favor of Steves and Sons, Inc. (www.stevesdoors.com) in its long-running antitrust litigation with JELD-WEN Holding, Inc. (NYSE: JELD), ordering JELD-WEN to re-pay Steves more than $7 million that JELD-WEN had overcharged Steves since the jury verdict in violation of the companies’ doorskin supply agreement.
On November 19, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne of the Federal court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond granted Steves’ motion for further relief relating to JELD-WEN’s overcharging of Steves for doorskins purchased between February 15, 2018 and May 31, 2019.
Steves attorney Marvin G. Pipkin said, “But the $7 million JELD-WEN now owes Steves is just the beginning. Since May 31, JELD-WEN has overcharged Steves nearly another $3 million. Unless JELD-WEN corrects its prices, the overcharge damages will continue to pile up by approximately $500,000 every month.”
Steves had sought this further relief from the court in the wake of a landmark lawsuit in which Steves had previously won a unanimous February 15, 2018 jury decision in Richmond agreeing with Steves’ assertion that JELD-WEN violated federal antitrust law – specifically, the Clayton Act. The jury agreed that JELD-WEN had substantially reduced competition in the market for interior molded doorskins (a vital component in door manufacturing, which is Steves’ prime business) in the United States through its acquisition of its former competitor, CMI, which owned the large Towanda, Pennsylvania doorskin manufacturing plant. The jury also sided with Steves in finding that JELD-WEN had breached its long-term doorskin supply agreement with Steves. The jury awarded Steves $58 million in past damages (including overcharges) and lost profits, which the Virginia judge trebled to total $174 million.
Subsequent to that February, 2018 jury decision in Steves’ favor, Judge Payne ruled that JELD-WEN must divest itself of the Towanda plant in order to restore competition in the marketplace. The case is now on appeal in the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
In his 33-page opinion, issued November 19, Judge Payne stated, “. . . because the jury implicitly accepted Tucker’s methodology (the pricing methodology testified to in the trial by Avram Tucker, Steves’ expert witness) when it granted damages after the jury trial and because JELD-WEN’s evidence on the proper methodology to calculate the amount of the overcharge is neither convincing nor reliable, the Court concludes that Steves’ request for $7,083,013 in damages for the overcharges . . . will be granted.”
He noted further that, “At trial, JELD-WEN did not offer any evidence about how to calculate damages . . .,“ and that “. . . JELD-WEN did not present an alternative methodology for the jury to consider.” As reflected in Judge Payne’s opinion, JELD-WEN personnel did admit in the hearing that it knew it had overcharged Steves, as the court explained, “$2,682,702 or, at a maximum, $5,695,362”.
Steves attorney Marvin G. Pipkin said, “Given their conduct throughout these years of negotiation and litigation, this ruling is just another illustration of how JELD-WEN got to this point in the first place. All of this ignores JELD-WEN’s continuing public rhetoric feigning some sort of DOJ approval of their behavior, even after the DOJ addressed this same topic in their amicus brief filed with the Court as part of this appeals process.”
In that brief the DOJ said:
“Contrary to JELD-WEN’s suggestion, no inference should be drawn from the Division’s closure of its investigations into JELD-WEN’s proposed and consummated acquisition of CMI… there are many reasons why the Antitrust Division might close an investigation or choose not to take an enforcement action. The Division’s decision not to challenge a particular transaction is not confirmation that the transaction is competitively neutral or procompetitive.”
Edward G. Steves, CEO of Steves, said, “A unanimous jury verdict and a host of follow-up rulings continue to shine the light on JELD-WEN’s actions and practices. Everything eventually comes home to roost.”
Sam Bell Steves II, Steves’ President, said, “JELD-WEN has consistently tried to evade or hide responsibility throughout this litigation process. What has been demonstrated time and time again is that their approach just doesn’t work, because it isn’t right. All of us look forward to returning competition and choice to this industry – not just to Steves, but to the other independent door manufacturers around this country who are have no sourcing choices due to an adjudicated antitrust violation.”
About Steves and Sons
With interior and exterior door plants in San Antonio, and interior door plants in Richmond, Virginia and Lebanon, Tennessee, Steves and Sons employs more than 1,100 associates. The company continues to build its business and reputation among builders and homeowners across the country with continued emphasis on quality materials, new technology and efficient distribution. (www.StevesDoors.com)